It is that time of year when people sit down and determine their goals and aspirations for the new year. Some choose to lose weight, save more money and build more friendships. However, for these eight football teams it is much deeper than a few pounds shed—it is about the future of their football programs.
For LSU and Alabama it is simply about winning their next football game. For others it is about taking the next step in their progression.
If these eight teams are able to fulfill this list it will be a great year for the players, coaches and fans of their respective teams.
The BCS is a broken system and Virginia Tech is the proof. The Hokies were selected to the Sugar Bowl despite being dismantled in the ACC championship 38-10 by the Clemson Tigers and not having one win against a team currently in the top 25.
The Hokies are a good football team but their resume is not worthy of a BCS bowl selection.
If the Hokies are going to win they will need to give Michigan a strong dose of David Wilson who has rushed for over 1600 yards this season. The problem is we don’t know what Virginia Tech Team will show up.
Brady Hoke has done a phenomenal job in his first season as the Michigan head coach. The critics who questioned the hiring of Hoke have been silenced with a 10-2 regular season and a BCS bowl bid.
However, we have seen many first year coaches come in to make a big splash only to see their programs move back into the land of irrelevancy the very next season.
Hoke will have a strong returning class led the exciting Denard Robinson. A big win in a BCS bowl would be a great catapult into the 2012 season.
If you have followed Clemson from week-to-week this season, the only way you were able to know that it was them was by the uniform. Because every game they looked different.
Early in the season they looked like a legit national championship contender. Only to seem dead and exposed toward the end of the season. Then, they resurrected from the dead for the ACC championship game where they soundly defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Inconsistencies are one of the signs of a youthful team and it was glaring this season for the Tigers. However, this super talented team must find a way to become competitive each week.
The Clemson athletic department has made a commitment to winning, now the players and coaches must as well.
West Virginia made great strides this season in getting back to their third BCS bowl in six seasons. However, next season could be the year the Mountaineers take their next step and compete for a national championship.
It will not be easy but they do return star quarterback Geno Smith and freshman sensation running back Dustin Garrison.
The Mountaineers do have to travel to Florida State next season but have Marshall and James Madison in their other out-of-conference games. The schedule sets up perfect for an undefeated season—will they be up to the task?
You will find very few who love SEC football as much as I do. In the south college football is a way of life. However, at the same time, I am objective enough to know that the BCS championship game should have been played between LSU and Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys are facing a very good football team in Stanford. However, the Cowboys need to send the world a message that the BCS system does not work.
To do this they will need to be able to slow down the Cardinal offense. Yes they stopped the Oklahoma Sooners but critics believe it was a fluke that was the result of a banged up Sooners offense.
While it is likely that the AP will reward LSU the national championship regardless of the outcome of the BCS championship game, it is not out of the realm of possibility (although highly unlikely) that OSU could claim the AP title with a big win.
When Jim Harbaugh arrived at Stanford in 2007 they were just short of being the laughing stock of college football. However, by 2010 they were 12-1 and winners of the Orange Bowl. Harbaugh would leave after the 2010 season and head for the NFL.
Stanford would promote running back coach David Shaw to head coach and the winning continued as the Cardinals finished the season 11-1 and will face No.3 Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl.
However, is this the product of good coaching and a solid foundation or the result of a once in a decade quarterback in Andrew Luck.
While replacing Andrew Luck with one person would be difficult, they can do it as a team but it will not be easy. Fortunately for the Cardinals they are not a pass happy offense but a balanced offense that has a running game that will be able to take the pressure off the next quarterback.
I have heard one fan after another cite the missed field goals by Alabama as the reason they were defeated in their first match up against LSU. As if 44,49,50, and 52 yard field goals are chip shots.
The Tide had one main factor that kept them from winning the first game. The first was their ineffectiveness from 30 yards out. The Tide only made it inside the 20-yard line once (19 yard line). They did make it inside the 30-yard line multiple times but they only had negative yards and missed field goals to show for it.
It was this ineffectiveness that lead to the ill-advised trick play that turned into an LSU interception at the one-yard line.
The Tide must be able to continue moving the ball inside the 30 this game if they want to have any shot of winning the game.
When the media reflects back on the “Game of the Century I” they tend to point out Alabama’s missed field goals as the difference in the football game. However, at the same time, the fail to point out that LSU got inside the 10-yard line and only came away with nine points.
The good news for the Tigers is that every time they got inside the 10-yard line Jordan Jefferson was the quarterback.
The first time they simply stalled. The second time they were constrained by time at the end of the half. The last time they new a field goal would win it in overtime.
This time they must be able to finish the drill inside the red zone. If they do this they will not need to leave it up to making game saving interceptions and missed field goals.